TWO extra replacement bus services are in place along the Mid Cheshire Line from tomorrow, Saturday, as the rail strikes grind on.

The RMT union has confirmed its intention to hold strike action each Saturday in January, as it opposes Northern's proposed driver-controlled operation of the doors on trains, putting the role of guards at risk.

The Mid Cheshire Line, which connects Chester to Manchester via Northwich, Knutsford, Altrincham and Stockport, has had no trains on Saturdays since August 25, 2018.

There will now be four bus replacement services in each direction between Chester and Stockport, where passengers can connect onto other services into Manchester Piccadilly.

John Oates, chairman of the Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association said: “MCRUA have been lobbying Northern by Arriva’s top management for an additional bus service in each direction whilst the RMT Saturday strikes continue.

“We are pleased they have listened and are now providing an additional bus in each direction departing Chester and Stockport at 1.30pm.

“This has reduced the eight-hour gap between the previous services to four hours and although this is appreciated, it really does not provide an effective service for our rail users compared to the 18 hourly trains in each direction previously.

“Whilst those with Saturday jobs may use these services to get to work where they have no other alternative, the services are not an attractive option for the Saturday leisure passenger.

“Who wants to spend over an hour and half on a bus travelling from Knutsford to Chester or Northwich to Stockport?

“Once again MCRUA urges the DfT, RMT and Northern to resolve their differences and get back to running a railway service that our passengers deserve.

“Our advice to rail users is not to use the Mid Cheshire Line on Saturdays but to switch their travel to Sundays or off-peak during the week."